Apparently, the Great Silk Cotton Tree, that once stood on Bay Street, came from South Carolina courtesy of a British man. It fits with the historical time line of the Bahamas and its links with Colonial America.

This seemingly innocuous event, which impacted so much of the social history of Nassau, happened at some point, in the mid to late 1600s, during English settlement of the New World.

(The Brandon Sun, Thursday November 26, 1971)

(The Miami News, 12 July 1925)

By the 1800s, sturdy mighty roots and branches of the Great Silk Cotton Tree would serve as a venue for government announcements, political discussions, debates, and amongst ancestral Africans, an informal court house for civil litigation.

Pronouncements made by the elders under this great pillar of time were called Cotton Tree Laws.


One Mr. John Miller

(Miami Daily News, Sunday December 27, 1925)

The Great Silk Cotton Tree is said to have been planted by a British man named John Miller, sometime in the late 1600s, during the rule of the Lord Proprietors in the Bahamas. The Lord Proprietors were granted a royal charter for the establishment and government of an English colony in the 17th century.

King Charles II granted eight men vast amounts of land in the new Americas. The British colonies of South Carolina and North Carolina were granted in 1663. On November 1, 1670, the Bahamas, in its entirety, was granted to the Lord Proprietors of the Province of Carolina. Charlestown, in honour of King Charles II, was once the name of the capital city before it was changed to Nassau.

John Miller, during the rule of the early Lord Proprietors, bought the saplings of the silk cotton tree to Charles Town, Bahamas from South Carolina. Somehow, despite there being only the thinnest of soils on New Providence, the Silk Cotton Tree of Bay Street, not only survived, it thrived.

By the late 1800s, some two hundred years after it was planted, the giant silk cotton tree of Nassau was world famous.

(The Lincoln Republican, Thursday, May 1, 1902)


Cotton Tree Law – Blessed Be the Law of the Elders

(The Brandon Sun, Thursday November 26, 1971)


1971 – Silk Cotton Trees Were Once Protected

The silk cotton tree was once under an ecological conservation order by the Bahamas government. But, that has long changed. The pressure to develop Cable Beach over the decades has seen countless mighty trees of important historical significance chopped down to make way for development.

(The Harcourt Courant, Sunday, 09 May 1971)

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